Tour de Langkawi: Nishitani wins stage four, Erler retains yellow
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Thursday, March 04, 2010

Tour de Langkawi: Nishitani wins stage four, Erler retains yellow

by VeloNation Press at 7:43 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Japanese road race champion Taiji Nishitani underlined the ever-increasing standard of Asian cycling when he galloped to victory on stage four of the Tour de Langkawi today.

The 29 year old proved quickest on the downhill finish into Parit Sulong, beating double stage-victor Michael Matthews (Jayco-Skins), Kazuhiro Mori (Aisan Racing Team), René Haselbacher (Corratec-Vorarlberg) and 104 others to the line.

It was the sixth-ever stage win by an Asian rider in the tour’s history, and follows on from the fine performances of Anuar Manan this week.

The Malaysian has taken three top-five placings and started the day leading the competitions for best sprinter, as well as best Asian competitor. Riders from Asia have been notably more aggressive than before.

Nishitani was predicably delighted with what is his biggest win to date.

“I am so happy. My team-mates worked so hard for me,” he enthused. “I am really happy to take at least one win in the Tour de Langkawi as this is a very, very important race for me and my team. I feel satisfied and delighted about this win.”

Overnight race leader Tobias Erler successfully defended his race lead. He played things well tactically and got good assistance from his Tabriz Petrochemical Cycling team in controlling breakaway attempts. They kept tabs on things until Swiss competitor Silvere Ackermann (Vorarlberg-Corratec) and Malaysian rider Ali Fallanie (Malaysia National Team) attacked thirty kilometres after the start in Mersing.

Neither of the two were a threat to his yellow jersey and as a result, they were given space to build their lead. They steadily pulled clear and reached a maximum advantage of four and a half minutes.

Fallanie picked up two bonus sprints, at Kluang and Yong Peng, before Ackerman surged ahead alone after 140 of the day’s 163.5 kilometres had been covered.

The latter then took top points on the day’s sole KOM climb at Kg Sri Jasa and tried to hold on for the stage win, but was finally caught five kilometres from the line.

Erler rolled in thirteenth on the stage, staying five seconds clear of David Pell (Drapac Porsche) in the general classification. Stage two winner Jay Thomson (South Africa) remains third, a further two seconds back.

“I have to say thanks to my team for their work in the first thirty kilometres, until the break rode away. I had really bad legs from yesterday,” the German rider said. “Yesterday I did a lot of work for myself and today they had to help me as my legs were really not good.

“When the break rode away, ISD and my team, Andrey Mizurov and myself, tried to ensure that the break didn’t go above five minutes so that that sprinting teams would start to chase in the end. In the end, this day was not as hard as yesterday for me – yesterday I made it too hard for myself.”

Matthew also said after the stage that his legs were feeling less than zippy at times, but he bounced back to nab both second place and the green points jersey.

“I was actually pretty far back coming into the sprint…I wasn’t going to go for it at the end as I didn’t feel too good. Also, coming into it, it was just way too dodgy - there were people going everywhere. It wasn’t really worth crashing for so I was just going to sit up.

“I was in about 20th wheel and then I saw a free run to the front. So I hit it from back there and got up to second – I was happy with that.”

He missed out on a chance to take his stage win tally to three victories, but taking over the green jersey is clearly an important achievement. “I sort of set myself up, winning the first sprint today,” he explained. “I got rolled in the second one. Then there was a breakaway for the third one so I got one of my team-mates to try to outsprint the guy in the green jersey. We got back to tying on points again and I just had to try to beat him in the finish to take green.”

Manan was just sixth in the finishing gallop and ended the day three points back. He said afterwards that he felt that wearing the best sprinter’s jersey meant he was a watched man.

“Today the race was very hard because I was fighting with Matthews to get the sprint points. The first sprint was unlucky for me as a lot of riders seemed to be fighting with me as I wear the green jersey. Many riders focussed only on me, and were not looking for Matthews,” he explained.

“I didn’t get the points there. I tried to get the points in the second one, but two riders were in the breakaway and so there were not too many points.

“In the last intermediate sprint, I only got one point. I was very tired after that as I had spent too much fighting Matthews. I tried to save energy to try to get the best place in the finish line, but was not able to get to the front as many riders were very close to me. I will try tomorrow.”

Morale boosted by his success today, Nishitani is also certain to be going for it if Friday’s stage finishes in a big group. He said that it took him a few days to get going, but that he is feeling better now.

“My condition is not yet the best. Until yesterday, it was really difficult to be up there in the finishing sprint. After the start today, my legs felt a little bit heavy and things were a little difficult. But my team did very, very good work and because of their assistance, I could win today.”

Tomorrow’s stage will see the riders cover 111.5 kilometres from Muar to Port Dickson. It is once again mainly flat, but it will be followed on Saturday by the savage finish on Genting Highlands.



Le Tour de Langkawi, Malaysia (2.HC, March 1- 7)

March 4, Stage 4: Mersing - Parit Sulong:

1, Taiji Nishitani (Aisan Racing Team) 163.5 kilometres in 3 hours 50 mins 11 secs
2, Michael Matthews (Team Jayco - Skins)
3, Vidal Celis (Footon-Servetto)
4, Kazuhiro Mori (Aisan Racing Team)
5, René Haselbacher (Vorarlberg - Corratec)
6, Anuar Manan (Geumsan Ginseng Asia)
7, Hossein Nateghi (Azad University Iran)
8, Dennis Pohl (Giant Asia Racing Team)
9, Rene Weissinger (Vorarlberg - Corratec)
10, Dmytro Grabovskyy (ISD - Neri) all same time


Sprint 1 – Jemaluang:

1, Michael Matthews (Team Jayco - Skins) 5 pts
2, Adiq Othman (Drapac Porsche Cycling) 3
3, Ruslan Tleubayev (Kazakhstan National Team) 2
4, Chuaikun Wiwatchai (Thailand National Team) 1

Sprint - Kluang:

1, Ali Fallanie (Malaysia National Team) 5 pts
2, Silvere Ackermann (Vorarlberg - Corratec) 3
3, Anuar Manan (Geumsan Ginseng Asia) 2
4, Chuaikun Wiwatchai (Thailand National Team) 1

Sprint 3 - Yong Peng:

1, Ali Fallanie (Malaysia National Team) 5 pts
2, Silvere Ackermann (Vorarlberg - Corratec) 3
3, Richard Lang (Team Jayco - Skins) 2
4, Anuar Manan (Geumsan Ginseng Asia) 1

KOM at Kg Sri Jasa, Category 4:

1, Silvere Ackermann (Vorarlberg - Corratec) 4 pts
2, Zainal Rizuan (Malaysia National Team) 2
3, Peter McDonald (Drapac Porsche Cycling) 1

Teams:

1, Aisan Racing Team, 11 hours 30 mins 33 secs
2, Thailand National Team
3, Malaysia National Team
4, Kazakhstan National Team
5, Vorarlberg-Corratec
6, Drapac Porsche Cycling, all same time


Asian Teams:

1, Aisan Racing Team, 11 hours 30 mins 33 secs
2, Thailand National Team
3, Malaysia National Team, both same time

General Classification:

1, Tobias Erler (Tabriz Petrochemical Cycling Team) 15 hours 36 mins 13 secs
2, David Pell (Drapac Porsche Cycling) at 5 secs
3, Jay Thomson (South Africa National Team) at 7 secs
4, Michael Matthews (Team Jayco - Skins) at 2 mins 39 secs
5, Anuar Manan (Geumsan Ginseng Asia) at 3 mins 2 secs
6, Vidal Celis (Footon-Servetto) at 3 mins 5 secs
7, Taiji Nishitani (Aisan Racing Team)
8, Ruslan Tleubayev (Kazakhstan National Team) at 3 mins 9 secs
9, Alex Candelario (Kelly Benefit Strategies)
10, Dmytro Grabovskyy (ISD - Neri) at 3 mins 11 secs


Points Classification:

1, Michael Matthews (Team Jayco - Skins) 72 pts
2, Anuar Manan (Geumsan Ginseng Asia) 69
3, Vidal Celis (Footon-Servetto) 46
4, Tobias Erler (Tabriz Petrochemical Cycling Team) 42
5, René Haselbacher (Vorarlberg - Corratec) 32
6, Ruslan Tleubayev (Kazakhstan National Team) 26


Mountains Classification:

1, Peter McDonald (Drapac Porsche Cycling) 11 pts
2, Silvere Ackermann (Vorarlberg - Corratec) 6
3, Zainal Rizuan (Malaysia National Team) 6
4, Adiq Othman (Drapac Porsche Cycling) 5
5, David Pell (Drapac Porsche Cycling) 4
6, Roman Zhiyentayev (Kazakhstan National Team) 4

Asian Rider Classification:

1, Anuar Manan (Geumsan Ginseng Asia) 15 hours 39 mins 15 secs
2, Taiji Nishitani (Aisan Racing Team) at 3 secs
3, Ruslan Tleubayev (Kazakhstan National Team) at 7 secs

Teams Classification:

1, South Africa National Team, 46 hours 55 mins 21 secs
2, Drapac Porsche Cycling
3, Tabriz Petrochemical Cycling, both same time
4, Footon-Servetto, at 3 mins 3 secs
5, Aisan Racing Team
6, Malaysia National Team, both same time

Asian Teams Classification:

1, Geumsan Ginseng Asia, 46 hours 58 mins 24 secs
2, Malaysia National Team
3, Aisan Racing Team, both same time

 

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